100 years of Radio in South Africa: Reflections from Academics and Practitioners
A book edited by Ms Sisanda Nkoala and A/Prof Gilbert Motsaathebe

Abstract Submission Deadline: November 30, 2021

The Year 2023 will mark a hundred years since radio broadcasting started in South Africa. Despite technological innovation characterised by new media platforms, radio continues to be a powerful medium because of its reach, affordability and place in the lives of South Africans. There has been a resurgence in radio studies in recent years as scholars ponder over how the introduction of digital technologies have reconfigured this traditional medium. In a context like South Africa, where the majority still turn to radio for information and entertainment, scholars are contemplating on how the development of the medium over the past century is shaping the convergence between radio and digital media as well as the reconfiguration that has taken place due to changes in access and participation.
The book aims to bring together media scholars and practitioners to deliberate on the role and influence of radio broadcasting in South Africa over the past 100 years. The publication will add to the existing body of knowledge on radio in this context by being among one of the few to consider radio broadcasting in South Africa-. Essentially, the book will make a distinct contribution by providing the following: a historical account of the development of the sector, an in-depth look at some of the key people and institutions that have shaped the sector, and a critique of the medium’s role in community-building and culture making among others. While the book will provide relevant theoretical frameworks, it also aims to include the voices of media practitioners who can reflect on the importance of this medium from a more realistic perspective.

The target audience is anyone with an interest in radio broadcasting in South Africa, including the general public, media professionals and academics who want to introduce a reflective text to their research agenda and curricula.
Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

Theme 1: The role of radio broadcasters/presenters/DJs in shaping public discourse, language and culture in South Africa
This theme will explore at the role of radio broadcasters in shaping public discourse and language, and culture. Radio broadcasters in South Africa are often more than mere announcers who inform the audiences about what is coming up on the programme. They are cultural icons who shape public discourse. They also play an essential role in the development and upliftment of indigenous languages. They have been instrumental in helping South Africans make sense of developments in this context. At many pivotal moments in the country’s development, they have been the voice communities turn to for information, reassurance, and a perspective on the prevailing state of affairs. This theme will profile some of those individuals and discuss the role of the South African radio broadcaster and how it has developed over the years.
Theme 2: The role of South African radio stations: then and now
This theme will explore the role of South African radio stations over the years. Radio stations in South Africa are the bastions of popular culture and repositories of our nations cultural heritage. As the most widely consumed form of media for decades, they have been an unrivalled source of information and entertainment. Some stations have played a critical role in political developments, while others have been the driving force behind fundamental changes in popular culture. Chapters based on this theme will examine the role of radio stations and may adopt a historical orientation of the radio station landscape or choose to focus on particular stations.
Theme 3: Reflections on South African radio regulation and governance over the years
This theme will explore the political dynamics behind the regulation and governance of South African radio over the years. From the establishment of radio to initially only serve English and Afrikaans speaking audiences to the present day constitutional provisions aimed at encouraging freedom of the airwaves, the changes in radio regulation and governance have been influential in determining the degree to which citizens can exploit the democratisation capabilities of radio as a medium. Chapters under this theme will consider the shifts in South African radio regulation and governance and reflect on how these have shaped the radio landscape over the years.
Theme 4: Reflections on the relationship between radio and politics/business in South Africa over the years
Due to its broad reach as a medium, radio has long been used as a strategic platform by political and business entities. The political economy of the medium is often deemed to drive all the other priorities, and this aspect has at times been at odds with the socio-cultural affordance of radio. Chapters under this theme will examine the relationship between radio and politics/business in the South African context over the years.
Theme 5: The future of radio in South Africa – Learning from the past
This theme seeks to forecast the place and character of South African radio in the coming years. With social media introducing audio forms such as podcasts and Twitter spaces, how will these developments affect the place of radio? It is clear that the medium has shown its longevity in this context, but will the technological shifts dethrone it from its place as the most widely consumed medium in South Africa? Chapters under this theme will endeavour to answer these and other questions regarding the future of South African radio.
Theme 6: Managing Radio in a digital environment
The digital media environment has presented both challenges and opportunities to the media industry. This theme seeks to examine specific challenges and opportunities concerning radio and how managers have navigated the complexity
presented by a networked, converged media environment. Proposals that contemplate future directions of the medium and business models will be considered under this theme.
Theme 7: Radio and African languages
With this theme, we welcome proposals that engage specifically with the contribution of radio to the preservation of African languages, which have generally seen a considerable decline in other media forms. Any other topic involving radio and indigenous African languages spoken in South Africa will be most welcome.

Submission Procedure
Researchers, academics and practitioners are invited to submit abstracts or chapter proposals of 500 to 700 words on or before November 30, 2021. Authors will be notified by December 15, 2021, about the status of their proposals. Authors of accepted abstracts/proposals will be invited to present their full papers at a colloquium on April 30, 2022. After the colloquium, authors will be given a chance to revise their papers, and final submission should be a maximum of 8000 words, including the references. When submitting abstracts, authors must indicate which of the above themes their submission aligns with.
Please send your extended abstract by November 30, 2021, to Sisanda Nkoala ( AND Gilbert Motsaathebe (

Important Dates

November 30, 2021: Abstract Submission Deadline

December 15, 2021 Notification of Acceptance
April 30, 2022: Colloquium

May 31, 2022: Full Chapter Submission

August 31, 2022 Review Results Returned

September 15, 2022: Final Acceptance Notification

October 15, 2022: Final Chapter Submission